From strength to strength:
Gabor Palotas rises to new challenge as General Manager at Rocky Mountain Ski Lodge,
the first Banff Lodging Company property in Canmore
Gabor Palotas is a prime example of a strong leader—in more ways than one.
He’s pulled trucks and bench-pressed twice his bodyweight as a Strongman Champion, provided 5-star service for celebrity guests as a Hotel Concierge, prepared morning feasts as a Breakfast Cook, and led a busy hotel team as a Front Office Manager.
Not only has he enjoyed the variety of these roles, he’s relished each new challenge as a chance to develop skills in pursuit of his dream job. And in 2018, this is the year it’s all paid off.
Previously Front Desk Manager at Inns of Banff, Gabor was appointed General Manager at Rocky Mountain Ski Lodge, now a Banff Lodging Company property, in April. With the increased responsibility of his new role, and the Lodge’s ownership change taking place in the same month, it’s a notable transition—and he’s taking it all in his stride.
“Being a General Manager has been my dream for many years. So, when I heard the Company was expanding to Canmore, it was such a great opportunity that it kept me awake at night! I’m thrilled to take it on,” says Gabor.
Rocky Mountain Ski Lodge currently offers 83 rooms and 10 room types. Gabor says the team plans to add 3 studio apartments and a standalone cottage in the near future, for a total of 87 rooms with 12 room types—a unique opportunity for a property of its size.
While staying true to the warm hospitality of its previous ownership, Rocky Mountain Ski Lodge is also reaping the benefits of being part of a larger group of properties. Within the first month, Gabor has almost doubled the size of the team—now with a maintenance team of 3, housekeeping team of 17, and a front desk team of 5.
“Being the first Banff Lodging Company hotel in Canmore, I think that’s quite special. It’s been a big transition for the existing team, and they are appreciating the new opportunities. The size of the Company means more capacity to hire more staff, and we also like to promote from within, so employees are now connected to properties all over Banff as well.”
Gabor has lived in Canada and worked with Banff Lodging Company for the last 5 years. Born and raised in Hungary, he attended culinary school in England, and worked as a Breakfast Cook at the Lymm Hotel before taking his first foray into servicing guests in a front-of-house position; as luggage porter at Manchester’s 5-star Lowry Hotel.
It was there that Gabor was promoted to Desk Concierge and was personally assigned to returning celebrity clients including players from Manchester United Football Club. He also had the chance to serve Victoria Beckham and Robert Downey Jr.
“That was where I learned customer service, and fell in love with the industry,” says Gabor.
A few years later, Gabor moved to Guernsey in the Channel Islands, taking on a Concierge role at the 5-star Government House Hotel. In 2013, the desire for a new adventure inspired him to move to Canada with his fiancée, where they joined the Banff Lodging Company team at the Inns of Banff hotel. Gabor started out as a Front Desk Agent, and it wasn’t long before he was promoted to Front Desk Manager.
“I learned a lot at the Inns of Banff. It’s Banff Lodging Company’s busiest hotel, and while that was challenging at times, it served me well and I’m really grateful for that. I’m proud of how much we strengthened staff retention, and also pleased to see a number of Front Desk Agents I hired who have been promoted widely and stayed with the company too.
While the transition from Front Office Manager to General Manager would usually be a quite a leap, Gabor’s experience has prepared him well.
“At Inns of Banff, I had great mentors, and so many opportunities to step up and be a leader. Combined with 5-star hotel experience in England, I have experienced a broad scope of the industry, and this has made the transition much smoother. Since my fiancée works back-of-house, I also got an early insight into those areas of the business through her advice.”
Highly service-focused, Gabor’s leadership style strongly reflects his background in the industry.
“I would say I am hands-on, but fair. I want to give everyone the tools to learn and progress, to make sure they can perform to their best abilities, and find the best position to shine in.”
This is part of the strong team mentality that makes Banff Lodging Company stand out, he says.
“If you join the Company, embrace what we stand for, and work hard, there are so many opportunities to grow—the sky really is the limit.”
To find out how you can join our friendly team here at Banff Lodging Company, including properties such as Rocky Mountain Ski Lodge, visit: www.bestofbanff.com/careers